As healthcare costs continue to rise, more people are taking charge of their own health by focusing on prevention. One way to improve overall health and prevent disease is by eating a diet focused on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
As this story explains, more and more people are reducing their consumption of animal-based food products. Along with the six to eight million Americans who follow vegetarian or vegan diets, a growing number of people fall into the category of “flexitarians,” who follow a healthier diet that incorporates less meat and dairy, and more plant-based food.
Flexitarians are often categorized into two groups: semi-vegetarians (one in eight U.S. adults), who eat a mostly vegetarian diet for health reasons, and meat reducers (one in four U.S. adults), who are not trying to follow a vegetarian diet but are reducing the amount of meat in their diets, also for health reasons.
The health benefits can be significant, as the article points out:
A diet heavy in meat and dairy has consistently been linked to poor cardiovascular health, and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) says that well-planned vegetarian diets are not only nutritional and healthy, but may provide benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.
The growing number of flexitarians will likely result in a greater variety of vegetarian-based options on the grocery store shelves. According to the Institute of Food Technologists, as more Americans reduce their meat and dairy intake, manufacturers are increasingly realizing the need to recognize and attract flexitarians.